MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied the motion for reconsideration of Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and former Senator Manny Pacquiao on a decision declaring their rival group in the PDP-Laban as the legitimate one.
A Comelec special division on May 6 last year recognized the wing chaired by former President Rodrigo Duterte as the legitimate PDP-Laban, as opposed to that of Pimentel's, whose father co-founded the party.
"The en banc did not find novel issues to be tackled and found no cogent reason to disturb the decision of the Comelec Special Second
Division," Comelec spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said in a statement Friday regarding the poll body's latest decision.
"Vox populi, vox dei." (the voice of the people is the voice of God.)
Laudiangco said the Comelec has the jurisdiction on the matter because the issue lies on the Sworn Information and Updated Statement (SIUS) and the request to cancel it.
"The matter is one which is administrative in nature and properly pertains to the jurisdiction of the en bane pursuant to Section 2(5),
Article IX-C of the Constitution," the statement read.
Former Cabinet Secretary Melvin Matibag and former Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi also had the "legal standing" to file the petition as members of PDP-Laban, said Laudiangco.
"Being members of the political party, they have personal and substantial interest in the case which involves intra-party controversy, particularly issues on party leadership and legitimacy of acts of party members."
In a statement on Saturday, Palawan Rep. Jose Alvarez, the president of the Duterte-led wing, welcomed the development, saying the poll body's decision "puts this matter to rest."
It is time to "move forward", he said.
Pimentel said they will bring to the Supreme Court.
He also cautioned the Comelec to refrain using the latin phrase, saying, "Our Comelec people might slowly get some kind of messianic complex if they start believing that what they say is the voice of God."
Then the ruling party, PDP-Laban split into two factions in early 2021 after Pacquiao blocked his partymates' efforts to push Duterte's candidacy for vice president in 2022.
Duterte joined the party when he ran for president in 2016.
Pacquiao eventually ran for president in the 2022 elections under the Cebu-based party PROMDI, while the Duterte-backed wing did not have its own presidential bet and instead endorsed the candidacy of now President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
— with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News